Baby kidnapping suspect in Madison courtroom Friday - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Baby kidnapping suspect in Madison courtroom Friday

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Jeff Stern Jeff Stern
 MADISON (WKOW) -- A woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew and leaving him outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures has made her first court appearance in Wisconsin.

A federal grand jury indicted 31-year-old Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colo., on a kidnapping charge earlier this week. Smith made her initial appearance in federal court in Madison on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker ordered her detained while her family tries to hire an attorney in Iowa.

Prosecutors allege Smith took days-old Kayden Powell from a Town of Beloit home where her half-sister, who is the child's mother, was staying on Feb. 6.

Police caught up with Smith in West Branch, Iowa, but she didn't have the baby. More than 24 hours later, authorities say an Iowa police chief discovered the child alive in a crate behind a West Branch gas station. Authorities say the infant boy was miraculously okay.

"You always want to make sure no one else was involved,"  U.S. Attorney for Wisconsin's western district John Vaudreuil says. "But clearly we only bring a charge when we think we have sufficient evidence, right now, to go to trial." Authorities say Smith only confessed to abandoning the child, after the baby was found.

Authorities say Smith posted on Facebook she had a baby around the time of Kayden Powell's birth, and a prosthetic belly was found in the car.

During Friday's brief court appearance, the child's mother, Brianna Marshall made sure not to glance at her accused stepsister. Marshall and the baby's father left the courthouse without offering any comment.

Smith faces a possible life sentence if convicted, and also faces a state charge in Iowa for what authorities say was endangering the child. Records show Smith was removed from an Army Reserve unit in Wisconsin in 2012, and has other pending criminal matters in Colorado and Texas.

Vaudreuil says there's a presumption Smith will be detained for the length of the case because of the seriousness of the charge, but can petition the court for supervised release.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew earlier this month is scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court in Madison Friday.

A grand jury indicted 31-year-old Kristen Smith on a kidnapping charge earlier this week.

and leaving him outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures is set to appear in federal court in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors say Smith took the baby from a Town of Beloit home where her half-sister, the child's mother, was staying on February 1. They say she then left the child, less than a week old at the time, outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures.

Police caught up with Smith in West Branch, Iowa, but she didn't have the baby. Police later discovered the child in a crate behind a West Branch gas station. The boy was alive and well despite spending hours alone in temperatures that dipped well below zero.


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